Five Important Works Stolen from Paris Musee d’Art Moderne

L’Olivier pres de l’Estaque, Georges Braque, 1906

 Very early this morning in Paris a thief stole these five works from the Musee d’Art Moderne near the Eiffel Tower.  CCTV cameras have reportedly caught one person breaking through a window.  Lots of figures will be thrown around about the value of these paintings, as for the reasons for the theft.  The value estimates are very rough, ranging already from 100-500 million Euro.  Yet these works can never be sold in a legitimate market, so in one sense their market value means little.  They have a kind of value in that they are so precious, museum and the authorities may be willing to take—or at least the thief thinks they will take—the unwise step of paying a ransom.  Or other criminals may try to launder some or all of the works through different individuals, in much the same way the Leonardo Yarnwinder was transferred. 

Why were the works stolen?  There are many reasons, but the simplest one may be the the most likely.  It is really not that hard, despite the loss we all suffer when works are damaged or lost forever. 

La Pastorale, Henri Matisse, 1906
Nature Mort au Chandelier, Fernand Léger, 1922
The Pigeon with Peas, Pablo Picasso, 1911-12
La femme a l’eventail, Amadeo Modigliani
  1. The Paris art theft has robbed us of some truly great paintings | Jonathan Jones | Art and design | guardian.co.uk, (2010), http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/may/20/paris-art-theft-picasso-matisse (last visited May 20, 2010).
  2. Catherine Hickley & Craig A. Copetas, Picasso, Matisse Paintings Stolen From Paris Museum – Bloomberg, http://preview.bloomberg.com/news/2010-05-20/picasso-matisse-modigliani-paintings-worth-123-million-stolen-in-paris.html (last visited May 20, 2010).
  3. AFP: Thief lifts 500 mln euros of art from Paris museum, , http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5irIRZ91WXBYeoJF1elwGm7XVV4Eg (last visited May 20, 2010).
Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

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